The two Danville men accused in last week’s murder of a woman at the front door of her apartment both pleaded not guilty Tuesday during their arraignments in Boyle District Court.
Lamar Stallworth, 27, is charged with murder, first-degree burglary and wanton endangerment in the Oct. 10 shooting death of Mellisa Luna-White, coming on to her property armed and putting another man in danger when he fired shots. He was returned to the Boyle County Detention Center, where he is being held without bond.
David J. Harlan, 23, is charged with complicity in the three crimes. He also is being held without bond.
According to arrest citations, Stallworth and Harlan went to Luna-White’s apartment at 528 Longview Drive, where they got into a fight with another man, identified as Derrick Ball, on the front steps. As Harlan was scuffling with Ball, Stallworth fired two shots toward the front door, where Luna-White was positioned just inside the doorway, the citations state.
Police Chief Tony Gray said Tuesday that Stallworth admitted to firing the shots but declined to reveal the rest of Stallworth’s account of the shooting. Versions of the incident supplied by Stallworth and Ball do not match up, Gray said.
“Mr. Stallworth did give a statement saying he was the shooter, but he’s saying one thing and Mr. Ball is saying another,” Gray said.
Investigators are waiting for autopsy and ballistics testing to help provide a clearer picture of what happened, the chief said.
The weapon has not been found, but one bullet was recovered from Luna-White’s body, and one shell casing from a semi-automatic weapon was recovered near the scene of the shooting, the chief said.
Gray declined to say if investigators believe Luna-White or Ball was the intended target of the gunshots.
Luna-White was indicted for tampering with evidence in the death of Michael Begley Jr., 27, of Richmond, who was found strangled to death alongside Taylor Road in November. Luna-White’s husband, Jordan Montez White, is charged with reckless homicide in Begley’s death, and her sister, Gina Priest, is also charged with tampering with evidence in the case.
White and Priest are awaiting trial in Boyle Circuit Court. The case has been delayed several times while waiting for a handwriting analysis to determine the author of notes reportedly written by Priest while she was hospitalized after an alleged suicide attempt. The next hearing is scheduled for Dec. 4.
Gray said Tuesday it does not appear the Begley case and Luna-White’s murder are related, but he remained mum on a possible motive behind the shooting.
“We don’t see any connections between the two cases at this point,” he said. “We’re still taking statements, still evaluating evidence. We don’t want to speculate on a motive.”
Stallworth has one felony conviction on his record, for cocaine possession in 2004, said Boyle County Attorney Richard Campbell. Harlan has no felonies on his record, Campbell said.
Trial Commissioner Adam Miller set preliminary hearings for both men on Oct. 24 before Judge Jeff Dotson.